The Junta de Andalucía is to create a foundation aimed at supporting the production of raisins in the Axarquía. The announcement came at last month’s annual celebration of the product in El Borge which attracted around 10,000 people to the town.
“We want the tradition of raisin production to become a tourist attraction through which people will know our gastronomy, our people and the diversity of our environment.”
The event was attended by regional president Susana Díaz who said the move would, “protect and support the tradition of the grape.” She added, “We want the tradition of raisin production to become a tourist attraction through which people will know our gastronomy, our people and the diversity of our environment.”
Last year, raisin production in the Axraquía became Europe’s first Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS), recognising the processing system which is 100 per cent manual and has remained almost unchanged for years. The GIAHS was created in 2002 to safeguard and sustain the world’s agricultural heritage systems, and to promote sustainable agriculture and rural development.
The first award to be made in Europe recognised the Axarquía raisins’ unique character and its importance to both the landscape and the local economy. There are around 1,900 hectares in the Axarquía dedicated to the cultivation of Muscatel grapes, with more than 60 per cent of these in the municipality of Almachar.
More than 2,000 families are involved in growing the grapes, hand picking them and then drying them in the sun for up to 20 days. Production varies between 150,000 and 300,000 kilos, earning producers between €5 and €5.50 a kilo.
Acknowledging the thanks given to her by El Borge in recognition of her support for the traditional practices, Díaz described raisin production as, “a way of life handed down from generation to generation,”